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A couple of years ago I pulled out of a BTL purchase because of a serious roof problem however before that was discovered we were aware there was potentially some asbestos as the property was heavy on the art ceilings. It was never confirmed and I never got as far as a survey for it as the vendors would not agree my new offer based on the roof problem.

I am viewing a property next week that I can see has polystyrene look ceiling tiles and I am aware from the previous aborted purchase that these can be a source of asbestos too. The property will need modernising so there is some chance of disturbing any asbestos containing surfaces.

Does anyone have experience of the very approximate costs of asbestos removal for say artex ceilings / tiles? I literally have no idea where to start when factoring it in.

Thank you


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Asbestos left alone, sealed, in good condition, and undisturbed will not cause harm. It will restrict what you can do, and remains susceptible to damage, and if damaged, it may/can become harmful. As you know, it also puts people off purchase. 

Don’t get confused by white = safe, others harmful (Brown/blue and 3 rarer forms), they are ALL class 1 carcinogens; what has more bearing is the material; insulation and AIB are higher risk than bound materials like bitumen and vinyl tiles.  Textured (artex)  coatings are bound, but fibre will become free easier than those from vinyl for example.  

Is it asbestos ?  Samples cost £10 to get tested (best letting them sample).   Removal of cement, vinyl, and textured coatings is not to expensive.  Spray coatings and thermal insulation are a different matter entirely; AIB falls somewhere in the middle.  You need to determine if the works are notifiable to the HSE and if they are licensed (artex can sit in all camps re: condition, method, and volume).    

Whilst a suitably qualified contractor can do some asbestos removals (good condition, material dependant), it is not a route I’d advocate.  Ive seen millions spent rectifying poor clearances in the 80’s/90’s and I’d personally employ a licensed contractor every time. I’d also suggest an independent analyst supervise/inspect the removals (ie: not the removal contractors analyst). Yes it cost, but you also have reassurance it’s been done correctly.  

Regarding cost, dayrates will be simpler than area rates. Assume +/- 300-400/operative with 2/operatives removing min, with a supervisor if an enclosure is needed.  +300 for decon, disposables, and disposal, etc. An analyst will be a further 300. The work may be notifiable / require an enclosed, this adds significant cost and delay.    

On the topic of disposal, ask for a copy of the waste transfer slip and final destination site. 

lastly, it’s everywhere. Run an air test in a city and you will see fibres. It’s still mined and only finally banned in the UK in 1999 (limited use past ‘91-93). It’s not a showstopper, it just need respect and consideration.  

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